Mexican Land Grant
Santa Catalina Island was awarded by Mexican Governor Pio Pico to Thomas Robbins as a land grant in 1846, just four days before the United States invaded California. Robbins was a naturalized Mexican citizen who had been living in California for about 20 years and had performed various services for the government, mainly as a ship captain. Paying for services with land was customary, but ownership was provisional. To maintain his title, the grantee had to use the land. Robbins established a small ranch on the Island, but sold it in 1850 to Jose Maria Covarrubias, just two years after California became a part of the United States as the result of the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo.